Avoidance can be good

Palm oil: Avoid products with the controversial fat

Status: 01.10.2019 11:20 a.m.
Palm oil is obtained from the fruits of the oil palm.

The food industry often uses palm oil as a cheap fat in many finished products. According to WWF, forests are cleared and orangutans and tigers are displaced from their habitat to extract palm oil. Experts also believe that palm oil could be involved in causing cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

That is why Markt author Uwe Leiterer is starting another self-experiment: After giving up sugar, meat and plastic, Leiterer is now trying to avoid buying products with palm oil. His children gave the impetus - for the sake of the rainforest, the orangutans and their own health. Uwe Leiterer will report on his experiences in a blog every week.

Many products contain palm oil

Palm oil tastes similar to butter and gives food a spreadable, creamy consistency. The fat is solid at room temperature and melts at body temperature. Palm oil is commonly used in these products:

  • Butter and margarine
  • Chocolate and pralines
  • Cookies
  • Spreads
  • Chocolate creams
  • Baby food
  • Ready meals
  • Sachet soups

Cosmetic articles can contain so-called surfactants and emulsifiers, which are made from palm oil components.

Why palm oil can make you sick

Palm oil is not the highest quality vegetable fat: it has a relatively high content of (unhealthy) saturated fatty acids and a low content of (healthy) unsaturated fatty acids.

In addition, palm oil is suspected to be involved in the development of diseases:

  • When palm oil is strongly heated, so-called fatty acid esters such as glycidyl and 3-MCPD can be formed, which, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, are considered carcinogenic. The substance dissolves in animal experiments above a certain dosage Tumors out.
  • According to medical experts, the relatively high content of saturated fatty acids in palm oil can lead to a deterioration in blood lipids. This increases the risk for Vascular calcification and diabetes.

Vegetable oils with a high content of unsaturated fatty acids, for example walnut oil or linseed oil, are considered better for health.

This is how consumers can avoid palm oil

If you - like Uwe Leiterer - want to do without palm oil, you can initially orientate yourself on the list of ingredients in the food. There it is listed either literally as "palm oil" or "palm oil" or as "vegetable fat (oil palm)". For some convenience foods there are alternatives without palm oil.

In his experiment, Uwe Leiterer will first try to find all palm oil products in the household and replace them with palm oil-free alternatives.

This topic in the program:

Market | 01/28/2019 | 8:15 pm